Friday, June 17, 2011

Turning the page

So my son, who could not string together his own words and relied so heavily on scripting to communicate when he started K, was promoted to 6th grade.

All I could think as I watched him yesterday sitting with his classmates was how the relief I felt at having "done that" mixed with the high anxiety of the abyss called middle school.

It's been such a tricky year, especially with the social nuances that he misses, the bullying that goes on that he grasps on some level, but much of it he misses (he still believes everything that everyone tells him). The worst of it is that I can't tell him anything--because if mom (or dad) says it, it doesn't count (why oh why does he have to be typical tween in this instance?). But it's also been a year of great personal growth for him. I was proud of him when he said to a roomful of adults at his IEP on Monday that he was worried about bullying in middle school. All the adults in the room hastened to assure him that there were policies in place so this wouldn't happen.

But I saw the look in Nic's eyes, and although I am not a mind reader, I know he was thinking about all the times he went to an adult when he was being bullied by B, and all the times he was simply instructed to 'stay away from B', effectively allowing B to follow him around and continue harassing him. There were no consequences for B, so the bullying continued until April 30 of his 4th grade year.

Thanks for nothing, responsible adults.

So part of this summer will be about planning, working with Nic to transition to middle school, working with him on his letter of introduction to his new team, outlining his hopes and goals, his concerns, and his own history of how he got to where he is, and how he hopes to get where he's going.

For my part, I'll be working on plan B. I may never have to use it, but it's best to have it--just in case.

In other news, the bag of crazy that has been my life over the past month--Nic's issues as well as my own--have settled down. I find that taking the high road, while difficult, rewards in unexpected ways. The medical scare turned out to be nothing, but it has galvanized my sense of urgency in settling a few matters for both boys.

Upset, fear and disappointment yielded some excellent stuff in spite of themselves. I'm not sure if it's just me looking at the glass half full so much as that adversity presents unique opportunities that wouldn't exist if life were perfect, and the wise person understands this.

So, as my middle schooler prepares for the next phase of his life, I find myself gearing up for new parental challenges. I understand that this won't get easier. And as my little one moves to second grade, I remind myself that this is when bullying started for Nic, and hope that my little one has a smoother ride than his big brother had. Life will not be easy for either of them, but they will be that much more appreciative of what they have, because they had to work that much harder to get there.

Adversity, after all, has its advantages and teaches its own lessons.

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